UK space: Orbex partners on UK vertical launch facility + More about Peter Hargreaves investment in Goonhilly

July 16, 2018
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NewSpace Watch
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Launch
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July 16, 2018

It appears that Orbex is to be one of the launch companies to use the spaceport at Sutherland, Scotland selected for funding by the UK Space Agency – Orbex Space on Twitter:

Very pleased to see our consortium partner Sutherland Spaceport selected as the UK’s vertical launch spaceport.

More details of the arrangement and about Orbex will be released this week at the Farnborough Airshow.

The Obex website also now includes some more information on the their launch vehicle. Claimed features include:

Orbex introduces a novel launcher architecture that completely eliminates the fundamental mass challenge of small launchers.

Orbex uses a single 100% renewable fuel that cuts carbon emissions by 90% compared to old-fashioned hydrocarbon fuels.

Orbex has created a novel zero-shock staging and payload separation system called Magic, which leaves zero orbital debris.

Orbex has built-in a novel reusability concept, reducing cost with an innovative new low mass recovery and re-flight system.

Orbex launch systems are designed, constructed and launched in the heart of Europe, offering simple logistics, lower costs and local regulation.

Orbex debuts a redundant ignition system with no moving parts or electrics, to improve reliability, eliminate complexity and remove high voltage interference.

Orbex introduces a reliable and effective propulsion concept that offers substantial power density and removes pollution sources completely.

Orbex’s launch vehicle is 30% lighter and 20% more efficient than any other vehicle in this category, packing more power per cubic liter than many heavy launchers.

Orbex has a 1300mm diameter vehicle and payload bay, offering class-leading accommodation for large volume satellites.

Orbex has integrated spaceflight-proven orbital guidance, navigation and control (GNC) algorithms, using cost-effective European technologies.

Orbex has already built and tested modern, lightweight, high performance flight computing platforms for engine management and flight control.

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An article about Peter Hargreaves and his £24 investment in the Goonhilly commercial ground station venture: Billionaire Peter Hargreaves’ Cash Injection Boosts The UK Space Race – Forbes

The additional funds have allowed Goonhilly to drastically upscale its business goals says [Goonhilly CEO Ian] Jones. “The investment means that we can realise a number of ambitions including: expansion of our Deep Space business to a global network; further development of our Near Space commercial satellite business, especially addressing the new LEO constellation market; investing in a state-of-the-art data centre within the extraordinary existing facilities at Goonhilly and; building up our systems division to include consultant space engineering and manufacturing capability. Peter doesn’t believe in doing things by halves – so we have a plan to expand the workforce and be bold in our ambitions to achieve these goals.

“The funding will mostly be spent on capital projects in the areas I’ve outlined which will have the best chance of delivering a high return on investment. This will include the build of a number of antennas, a data centre and the purchase of test and manufacturing equipment.”

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